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Playing in Open Spaces. All content licensed using Creative Commons BY-SA


#Rhizo15 Knowledge is Communication

4 min read

Sternberg, one of my fav theorists on human intelligence  defines wisdom as, "the application of the analytical, creative, and practical aspects of successful intelligence for a common good, over the long as well as the short terms, through the infusion of positive values."

Wisdom in many ways is a collective. A tool communities can access but never really grasp. I have been thinking about Sternberg's definition of wisdom often in these last few days. Especially in terms of online spaces such as where we have been gathering to learn. How does this "application" and "common good" play out online?

I realized wisdom is curated and knowledge is communicated.

Strong 21st Century Communications Magnet and SCSU Lab School

Which brings me to the Strong 21st Century Communication Magnet School in New Haven, CT.  The staff invited me in to do a presentation on communication.

We had a great time. We focused on participatory culture, looked at examples of , and then practiced how to with x-ray goggles.

I usually dread these one hour PD sessions after a brief staff meeting. The real learning gets squished and the managerial details rushed, but today was different. The entire staff sat engaged and ready to learn. When the teachers got to play with the tools we discussed everyone jumped right in. They challenged my claims and demanded evidence.

Many were staying late into the night to collaborate with parents to advocate for a new school. They encouraged students to get involved in the democratic process by writing letters to the local Alders.

Most importantly as a group the teachers seemed committed to the mission and vision of the Strong School (I did explain my aversion to "21st Century"). We had so much fun. It was fitting that I got to present in their discovery classroom. A room built for design thinking.

Knowledge is Communication

I drew on the work Henry Jenkins and his team did  around  new skills for participatory culture:

Here is the slidedeck. While I did not get a chance to record the session I do have a YouTube video with really choppy audio. I was happier with today's talk as we really dug into what it means to communicate knowledge (headless slidedecks are always bad video but thats a talk for another time).

Examples of

I wanted to share some of the online classes I have helped to shape. We discussed and . Each of these courses built on the Wisdom that has been curated from other classes such as , , , and . I wanted to communicate and share the knowledge that I shared in both projects (1, 2).

I believe we can do this in K-12 education. We have done it two years in a row with . There is something unique in having these local nodes sharing knowledge and forking the wisdom of the collective.

We concluded the talk by highlighting Web Literacy as the primary mode of communication in a Networked Society. I shared the efforts of the Mozilla Learning and encouraged teachers to consider a Mozilla Web Club at the Strong School.

Then we hacked the news. Teachers love x-ray goggles. It gets them making in  minutes and the pedagogical possibilities are only limited by the wisdom of their collective.

In order to curate wisdom we need to engage in participatory culture. This requires us to to communicate knowledge. All require students to read, write, and participate on the Web.


Content Counts and Counting Content #rhizo15

3 min read

I haven't had much time to for lines of flight this week. I wanted to incorporate so many of the great conversations around so I just want to quickly share some of my thoughts.

I will explore this more later but wanted to get some pre-writing done in the open.

What is Content?

Content is stuff. It means to contain.

What is Content Knowledge?

Content Knowledge to me is information th reified into the discourses of specific communities. It involves power signifying what information matters over other information.

I see this most frequently in "content area reading" or "content reading strategies" or in "content and pedagogical knowledge." Basically it is the idea that there are certain bits of knowledge students need to know.

I am okay with this. I also think that this is dependent on the domain. As Rand Spiro in his cognitive flexibility theory, well defined domains such as science and math can rely on set "content" and more direct instruction.

The times tables are content knowledge. Someone decided its important for kids to know. They are right.

In terms of your fuzzier content areas such as the humanities its starts to get fuzzy. The atomic weight of an atom is a constant. The same can't be held true for theories of reading or literature response. Messiness is the only constant.

Sam Dyson, in a post on unlearning, I think brought up the idea of preconception and misconceptiion on a path to deeper learning. I am not a fan of "unlearning," but I need more time to dive into the literature.

The learner can elevate information to content if given the chance.

Are People and Community Content?

Yes. If you are specific in your pedagogical choices you can make people the content if connections is something you want them to take away.

This was a major goal in . We stated at the beginning that community was our content, but we were exploring identity not Bohr's law.

There was room to play with content.

Content Area Reading is it Worth It?

No. While a set of general comprehension strategies skills are helpful, especially when working with students with great cognitivie diversity, the gains over time are minimal.

Content=Comprehension. I can think of no situation in reading where knowing less would make one a better reader than knowing more. 

Instead of generalized strategies we need to focus on the ways and being within specific disciplines. We need to focus on how meaning is signified within these very specific discourses.


@fncll @nomadwarmachine @davecormier @autumm Your Book is full of #Rhizo15 Ghosts

2 min read


Can we Crowd Source rhizoanalysis #rhizo15

2 min read

So I spoken about how I want to try my hand at rhizoanalyis (using Leander and Rowe as a general guide). I figure the best way to get at nonrepresentational theory is to let others help map the lines of learning in .

Here is what I am thinking

  • Need to commit to project. We will be submitting to publication. Getting rejected by top tier journals first and moving down the line until the manuscript is rejected.
  • You don't need to commit. If you just want to dance with us feel free to boogie for a short song and offer feedback on what we are doing. Research is a balancing act:

  • You need to build up your background knowledge on rhizoanalysis. We will read Leander & Rowe together. Maybe a first pass of other research.
  • You don't need any background knowledge. You can learn as we go. I will be.

  • After we are comfortable with our current level of discomfort we will try with a small sample of data. I curated all of the final makes submitted by participants.
  • We meet as synchronously as possible and dry to sketch out some maps.
  • Not sure what the deminsions of the map would be that would be up to us.


Research is hard work. Analyzing in the open will leave us exposed.

  • After we map one learning event we decide how to map the entire experience. We could map concepts (identity, multimodality), we could map specific learners (choose 4-5 people). We could map specific people based on the demensions of specific concepts.
  • I really have no idea how this would work because I have never tried that before.
  • I, and probably you, will have to work hard not to fallback on a heirarchical taxonomy.

We need to be able to switch our perspectives. If you are interested in helping out leave a comment below.